Radiation Safety for Kids

Radiation safety in diagnostic imaging is a priority at CHOC Children’s. We go to great lengths to ensure that tests performed on your child use the lowest possible radiation exposure.

Studies suggest that there is very small risk over one’s lifetime associated with large exposures to radiation. However, no study has shown a measurable risk from the small amounts used in a single diagnostic imaging examination. If done using pediatric safety guidelines, the benefit to your child will greatly outweigh the risk of to a small radiation amount.

Leapfrog hospital 2015

CHOC Children’s Hospital Earns National Distinction for Safe, Quality Care

Dose Matters for Radiation Safety

young hospital patient wearing arm castYears of research show it’s unnecessary to use adult-sized radiation doses to obtain quality images in children. That’s why we calibrate all our imaging equipment for kids and use protocols to cut radiation exposure.

CHOC Children’s is the only imaging facility in Orange County just for children. We use up to 50 percent less radiation than adult imaging facilities.

At CHOC, we commit to using the lowest levels of radiation necessary, without compromising image quality. Also, we routinely meet or exceed national radiation safety recommendations.

Our Commitment to Safe Imaging and Radiation Safety

  • Our radiology team have gone through a rigorous review process through the ACR. We want to be sure our radiology team meets and exceeds nationally-accepted standards.
  • Our CT scanners deliver extremely low dose radiation with scanners so quick, repeat scans are rarely needed. In fact, other hospitals have begun transporting newborns to CHOC for imaging because of these capabilities.
  • CHOC reduced radiation by up to 90 percent on fluoroscopic procedures. By using pulse dose technique and image capture, we succeeded in reducing exposure compared to the more commonly used continuous fluoroscopy and full image acquisition.
  • When appropriate, we substitute diagnostic examinations that do not involve ionizing radiation (eg. ultrasound, MRI) for exams that use ionizing radiation. Moreover, we take steps to reduce the need for more studies involving radiation.
  • All radiography equipment (eg. X-ray and CT units) are state-of-the-art and specially designed for pediatric use.
  • We know that when infants, children and teens feel safe and comfortable, imaging tests can be done faster with less chance of repeat exams. That’s why we have dedicated radiology child life specialists help each child feel at ease.

Accredited by the American College of Radiology

The American College of Radiology (ACR) awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of its practice. CHOC received accreditation from the ACR for MRI, CT and ultrasound. Board-certified radiologists and medical physicists conduct image quality and procedure evaluations. The program also evaluates personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

When you choose an ACR-accredited facility, you know that:

  • Your hospital, clinic or health center has voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to meet national standards.
  • The personnel are well qualified to administer radiation therapy treatments.
  • The equipment is appropriate for the tests you will receive. In addition, the facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.

Image Gently®

CHOC Children’s is a proud supporter of the Image Gently® campaign. Launched in 2008, the campaign raised awareness about methods to reduce radiation dose in pediatric medical imaging exams. The Image Gently group provides information about safe pediatric imaging examinations for radiology technologists, medical physicists, radiologists, pediatricians and parents.

Image Gently® is an initiative of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. Founded by the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, the American College of Radiology and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.